Billy Connolly discusses Parkinson’s and cancer diagnoses
The Scottish performer, 78, said he felt “comfortable in his skin” after announcing his retirement from stand-up comedy four months ago. Sir Billy, known as ‘The Big Yin’ meaning ‘the big one’, retired after five decades in entertainment due to his worsening battle with Parkinson’s disease. The TV star, who will publish his first autobiography later this year, has been increasingly vocal in the Brexit debate in recent years.
Despite his clear Brexit stance, Sir Billy initially refused to weigh-in on the Scottish Independence debate because he feared “influencing anybody”.
His concerns led him to abstain from voting in the nation’s referendum, which he dubbed “morass”.
While the star kept his thoughts about Independence quiet, he was extremely vocal about Brexit.
In 2018, Sir Billy told the Sunday Times that the decision to leave the EU was “a disaster” and branded it a “con-job”.
Billy Connolly branded Boris Johnson a ‘f***ing soft boy’ and Brexit a ‘con’
Billy Connolly initially seemed to oppose Scottish Independence before a U-turn over the Brexit vote
He felt the “breaking up of Europe” was a “crime bordering on sin” and urged Scotland to “keep our contact” with the bloc.
In Scotland, 62 percent of the public voted Remain in the EU referendum – while 52 percent of the UK voted for Brexit.
He argued that “becoming independent from England… may just be the way to go” if it meant the nation could keep close to the EU.
Sir Billy, who is a self-professed “anglophile”, admitted: “I never thought I would say that.”
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In 2019, he admitted to feeling “relief” over being “a few thousand miles away from Brexit”, during a Guardian interview.
Sir Billy lives in an impressive five-bedroom home in Key West, Florida, which was estimated at £2.3million ($3.2million) by Virtual Globetrotting.
Since living in the US, he claimed to have “kept away from all the madness” from former US President Donald Trump.
But then Sir Billy took a swipe at British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, by telling the Guardian: “Look who you’ve got now over here.”
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Sir Billy expressed his concerns over why people voted for Brexit and when asked about the Leave campaign said: “What a con!”
He argued that “the Prime Minister was the biggest con of all” and called Mr Johnson a “f***ing soft boy”.
Sir Billy kept an eye on the Brexit debate from across the pond and watched people being interviewed in south Wales on US TV.
He noted: “How pleased they were to have voted out of Europe.”
Billy Connolly spoke to Sky News about his departure from stand-up comedy after 50 years
In the 2016 EU referendum, 52.5 percent of Wales voted for Brexit.
Sir Billy was concerned that the public did not understand what they could lose after leaving the bloc.
He said: “They showed all the things that the EU had funded in their town.
“They had no idea, it’s completely nuts.”
Sir Billy’s thoughts about Brexit led him to call for Scotland to vote to become an independent country.
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In 2014, he told the Radio Times that people should “get together, not split apart” – in a statement that hinted he was against independence.
Sir Billy said he didn’t believe in “more layers of Government” that “ordinary people will have to pay for” – but argued togetherness was better than separation.
He said: “The more people stay together, the happier they’ll be.”
But in a 2018 Sunday Times interview, Sir Billy seemed to have changed his mind and argued Scotland should keep close to the EU.
Billy Connolly was knighted by Prince William in 2017 and described it as ‘a big bit nerve-racking’
Last year, he confirmed he “would like” to see Scotland become an independent nation, in the BBC show Billy and Us.
Sir Billy claimed to have “never liked nationalism in any of its guises” but explained he was open to the idea of independence.
He said: “I think a Scottish republic is as good an idea as any I ever heard.”
But Sir Billy, who admitted his politics changed on a “daily” basis, countered: “I don’t represent anybody or anything – I don’t think it’s wise to.”